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Jay to Bee

Janet Frame's Letters to William Theophilus Brown

List Price: $28.00

April 12, 2016 | Hardcover | 6 x 9, 464 Pages | ISBN 9781619027282
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During her time at an artists’ colony in New Hampshire, Janet Frame met painter William Theophilus Brown, and their friendship resulted in a whimsical and artistic correspondence. In Brown, Frame found an ideal listener who inspired her to take the art of letter writing to new creative heights; over the course of their correspondence, Frame included character sketches, personal disclosures, invented tales, and dozens of her own doodles and collages.

This compilation of nearly 140 letters, accompanied by hundreds of original illustrations, has been published nowhere else in the world, including Frame’s home country of New Zealand. This moving and enlightening correspondence opens up the hopes, fears, joys, and inner machinations of one of the world’s greatest writers. The closeness and intimacy of the two artists allows for unfettered wordplay and creativity; the result is a book that vividly captures the brilliantly unique wit that was Janet Frame.

JANET FRAME is New Zealand’s most decorated author. Over the course of her fifty-year career, she won New Zealand’s Hubert Church Prose Award four times, the New Zealand Book Awards multiple times for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement. Her international reputation led to her being named an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She published more than twenty-five books and she was often rumored a candidate for the Nobel Prize.


“Fans of authors’ correspondence will find a delightful example of the genre in Jay to Bee, which collects letters sent by the troubled New Zealand writer Janet Frame to the American painter William Theophilus Brown. In an introduction, Denis Harold, the book’s editor, calls it ‘not an academic work but . . . the uncensored revelation of a great writer’s imagination at play.’ Frame’s playful spirit can be seen in the many doodles she included in her correspondence, as well as in her words.” —New York Times Book Review

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